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#1 aChocLover

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 07:19 PM

This is my 6th year at packing school lunch boxes .. sadly, I still don't know what to send half the time. This weekend I'll be getting stuff sorted (just did the shopping!) and made in the hope to make the morning rush a bit easier.

So the general rule apparently is 1/3 cereal/grain, 1/3 vege, 1/3 split - dairy, protein, fruit. I don't think I've ever got the balance right and the kids apparently are "so over sandwiches Mum" rolleyes.gif so I'll have to be a little creative for the first few weeks!

I should add, my kids are not fussy and eat pretty much anything and everything, so I am very lucky in that regard. They just have a tendency to get bored easily and expect variety each day.


Staples in the kids lunch box this week will be -

.fruit (I've bought nectarines, bananas and these gorgeous mini p@r@dise pears which can be eaten in 2 bites!)
.milk uht poppers (just the d3vondale ones, no flavouring)
.celery/carrot/capsicum sticks with philly cheese or hummus or avocado dip

I'm planning to make -

.chicken, lime & ginger meatballs (will freeze and cook the night before)
.beef and herb meatballs (will freeze and cook the night before)
.marinated chicken drumsticks (will freeze and cook the night before)
.oat slice
.zucchini slice
.corn fritters
.biscuits (the kids have asked for triple choc chip - nice and healthy wink.gif )

For the meatballs and drumsticks, I'll send with a little greek salad or something.

I also bought rice crackers, lamingtons, pita breads, wraps and cherry tomatoes when I'm just not in the mood!

What are you packing?

#2 Daybreak

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 09:44 PM

Obviously, I don't pack school lunches but the Planning with Kids blog has regular posts about it - about once a month, I think. http://planningwithk...s...x&sa=Search
(I do make Andrew's lunch, but that's just leftovers or sandwich, plus homemade biscuits)
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#3 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 10:08 AM

I think for the first week we'll be having vegemite sandwiches until I get into the swing of things!!!

I've apparently got to pack for

- crunch and sip: fruit or veg with water in a clear bottle (bucking that already, I've got her a stainless steel drink bottle and I'm not making her cart 2 to school)

- little lunch

- big lunch

The ONLY time I've packed lunch for her was at one of her two orientation days. Preschool provided all food biggrin.gif She ate half her sandwich, a few bites of her apple and all of her sucking yoghurt. The child is permanently 'starving' at home so I'm guessing they just get a bit distracted at school?


Wondering how finnicky they will be about packaged stuff too. I make lots of things but I'm sure there will be the odd occasion where I throw in a lesnack or museli bar because I've just got nothing else. One of the schools we looked at said no prepackaged things and they would send them home with the child?! Surely it would be better to let the poor kid eat their food then contact mum and dad about it...

#4 Daybreak

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 01:04 PM

QUOTE(Windsor @ Jan 26 2014, 11:08 AM) View Post

Wondering how finnicky they will be about packaged stuff too. I make lots of things but I'm sure there will be the odd occasion where I throw in a lesnack or museli bar because I've just got nothing else. One of the schools we looked at said no prepackaged things and they would send them home with the child?! Surely it would be better to let the poor kid eat their food then contact mum and dad about it...

It will depend on the teacher, but I suspect most of them will do just that, especially with the little ones.
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#5 aChocLover

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 02:49 PM

Thanks for the link Daybreak, I'll paw over that for ideas.

DD2 used to love her vegemite and jam sandwiches, but towards the end of school last year they were all coming home uneaten.

It was all borrrring food and I was the horrible mother who never packed chips!

QUOTE(Windsor @ Jan 26 2014, 10:08 AM) View Post

Wondering how finnicky they will be about packaged stuff too. I make lots of things but I'm sure there will be the odd occasion where I throw in a lesnack or museli bar because I've just got nothing else. One of the schools we looked at said no prepackaged things and they would send them home with the child?! Surely it would be better to let the poor kid eat their food then contact mum and dad about it...


There are some schools nearby who either have a no pre-packaged foods rule, or no wrappers/plastics/bags/clingwrap etc rule.

I think in today's society where life is so busy, it's unfair to expect parents to have the time to make everything from scratch. I'm going to try and avoid the pre-packaged stuff myself ($ and additives), but there will be times that I'm too busy and it's all too much and my kids will be having whatever I can give them. Or tuckshop wink.gif

We're lucky in the fact that the only thing that is banned at school is nuts. And insulated lunch boxes. The lunch box thing has caused an almighty uproar already this year!



#6 kisma

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 03:58 PM

QUOTE(aChocLover @ Jan 26 2014, 03:49 PM) View Post

And insulated lunch boxes.

Why is that? Are they kept in a fridge? How are you meant to send cold stuff and be sure it will keep cold (with ice packs of course)

I only pack lunch two times a week for preschool, and I already hate it rolleyes.gif Not sure how I will cope come big school. So much easier when they are at home and I can dish up leftovers etc.

I like the idea of sending bento's in, kind of like this
http://mysmallpotato...nner-bento-ers/
Seems like that way they get alot of variety as opposed to one massive sandwhich. We will see if it ever happens though wink.gif
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#7 aChocLover

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:25 PM

QUOTE(kisma @ Jan 26 2014, 03:58 PM) View Post

Why is that? Are they kept in a fridge? How are you meant to send cold stuff and be sure it will keep cold (with ice packs of course)


Yeh, they supply fridges for the lunch boxes and apparently it reduces the efficiency of the fridges. The problem most of the parents have relates to kids who need to be there for sport/music from 6.30am/7am when the classrooms/fridges are inaccessible, through to after school for other school extra curriculars - 5pm or so. Makes for a long day of food in/out of varying temperatures when you also have to pack breakfast and afternoon tea as well as the lunch.

It's likely for those of us impacted, we'll pack 2 lunchboxes with the insulated bag & cold bricks left in the school bags. Not a big deal really, just a pain in the backside!

Insulated ones are also handy because they generally come with a handle wink.gif We've gone through quite a few plastics from being dropped!

Love the bentos! I hadn't thought of using silicone holders in lieu of wrappers!

#8 squeaza

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:37 AM

With my DS starting 3-year-old Kinder in 2 weeks, I suddenly realised I had to pack stuff for him wacko.gif We don't even meal plan because our days have no rhyme nor reason to them, so negotiating lunch/snack planning will be fun.

I'm glad I'll be easing into it - just snacks for 2 afternoons this year, then probably 2 full days and 2 half days next year, before the horror of prep.

I'm horrified that places might not allow ANY pre-packaged food? OMG... I hope ours does because otherwise I might go bananas.....

I went to a very hippie school for that time, and there was a 'no sweets or junk food' rule, unless you brought enough for all the class. However, there was no problem at all with a le snack or a muesli bar. What's so different than sending them with biscuits and a cheese spread, that you put on at home??

AC your menu sounds amazing! I had sandwiches nearly every day for 13 years of school and 3 years of Uni, and although I sometimes got bored of them, we just had to suck it up and eat them. None of my schools had a canteen until I was in year 10 so you ate what you were given or got hungry biggrin.gif

I've just baked up some batches of Windsor's Sweet Potato and Cheese Muffins, and used some very very very ripe bananas to do two loaves of Banana Bread which I'll slice and freeze.

With the savoury things you've mentioned, AC, do you prepare them and freeze them uncooked then just defrost a serve or two to cook?

Snack wise, I was thinking along the lines of:

Salada/Vegemite sandwiches
Rice cakes with fillings
Sakatas
Veggie sticks with dips
Corn Chips
Yoghurts
Cheese and bikkies
slices
savoury muffins
Apple puree
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#9 bluenomi

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:23 AM

I'm dreading packing Hattie's lunches. She's been at a fully catered day care for 3 years and is a fussy eater. I predict every day will end up the same...
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#10 Mel B

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:48 AM

My kids have pretty small appetites and prefer playing to eating, so what's in the lunchbox isn't a big deal to them.

Most days the lunchbox looks something like:

Recess
- fruit (usually berries, stone fruit or mango at this time of year)
- homemade banana bread, mini muffin or crackers

Lunch
- ham and cheese or chicken wholemeal wrap; ham, cheese, vegie sticks (only DS will eat) and crackers; wholemeal saladas with vegemite. They both went off bread last year.
- fruit (usually berries for DD, orange for DS) Sometimes they take an apple that they take to the canteen to be made into an apple slinky
- some crackers or bread sticks for DS in case he is still hungry.

DD refuses to eat any raw veggies so I have got into the habit of not sending them, but I'm going to start up again this year and try to motivate/bribe her to eat them. Will try out some hummus, cream cheese or avocado dip to see if that helps.

Squeaza, it depends on the school I think. Our school doesn't have any rules about what's in the lunchbox, although the canteen is very healthy. I agree it makes life a lot easier when you can throw in a couple of biscuits or muesli bar when you run out of time to shop and cook.

I try to avoid sending any waste apart from food scraps. I've tried a couple of bento style boxes but because my kids prefer quite wet fruit like cut up mango or orange, it is hard to find boxes that prevent the juice from running into the crackers - eww! So I end up with lots of little separate boxes (like sistema klip its) inside a big insulated bag.
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#11 flowerrose

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:32 PM

QUOTE(aChocLover @ Jan 26 2014, 12:49 PM) View Post

It was all borrrring food and I was the horrible mother who never packed chips!
There are some schools nearby who either have a no pre-packaged foods rule, or no wrappers/plastics/bags/clingwrap etc rule.

I think in today's society where life is so busy, it's unfair to expect parents to have the time to make everything from scratch. I'm going to try and avoid the pre-packaged stuff myself ($ and additives), but there will be times that I'm too busy and it's all too much and my kids will be having whatever I can give them. Or tuckshop wink.gif

We're lucky in the fact that the only thing that is banned at school is nuts. And insulated lunch boxes. The lunch box thing has caused an almighty uproar already this year!


Totally agree about the pre-packaged food. With the very best will in the world it's really hard to avoid packaging all the time. A parent is supposed to still home cook everything even when they're ill? It's all a question of moderation. We do have a problem in our school with six year olds bringing in adult sized chocolate bars everyday for morning tea and fairy bread, chips and juice toppers for lunch. I do get annoyed with being treated like the worst parent ever because our lunchboxes are very dull in comparison, and one little guy clearly has a food additives issue so is swinging from the light fittings after a particularly neon feed - but I still think it's for the parents to determine and, if necessary, the school to deal with on an individual basis. I'm not a fan of arbitrary rules just because a minority can't behave responsibly.

What's the issue with the insulated lunch boxes? Surely that steers people more towards packaging for food safety?

Anyhoo, packed lunches....boring as batshit, bane of my existence. I LOVE lunch order Wednesdays!

I bought a little Women's Weekly pamphlet book when we started kindy. It had some good ideas. The rest was somewhat over the top - food sculptures and the likes.

We do sandwiches a lot - normal bread, pitta bread and wraps. Ham salad, tuna and mayo, cheese and chutney, etc. I often just do bread and butter, with other stuff but not in a sandwich.

Otherwise, the kids tend to go in with leftovers. Both love the sunday roast cold or reheated in the thermos tubs - also used for bolognese, lasagne, casserole - whatever we have in the fridge/freezer. Sophie loves soups - again made in bulk, but Ethan is less keen. For emergencies I have some form of passata in the fridge to stir in pasta with grated cheese. Sushi goes down well and is quite quick if you have time the night before. I'll send them in with cold sausages, chicken drumsticks, tubs of butter beans, boiled/jacket potatoes, chicken rice & peas, veggie sticks, all sorts really. I cook large (two chooks not one, huge lamb legs, etc) and use the left overs.

I also use my fair share of cheese dunkers, squeezey fruit puree (frozen), packaged yoghurts, roll ups, crackers, biscuits, etc.

#12 Daybreak

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:32 PM

I think the 'no prepackaged food' rule is likely to be about rubbish rather than health. If you bought a box of, say, Tiny Teddies, and put a handful of them in a tub, instead of sending one of the individual packets, that would probably be fine.
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#13 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:47 PM

We don't actually have that rule, just saw it at a daycare/preschool I was looking at and wondered if they'd send the bags of air popped popcorn with no falvouring I just bought for emergencies home. Just wondering smile.gif All bets are off when they get to high school anyway, don't get me started on the number of kids I had coming to school drinking cans of Mother.....

Squeaza, I totally want some sweet potato muffins now! Alas it's not shopping day until Wednesday and I have not much in the cupboard. May be able to rustle up some savoury scones though.


We got a nude food lunchbox with lots of little containers in it but I'm too worried to send anything too adventurous yet! We'll go with totally easy things like cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, cheese, fruit etc. Bento style might be for term 2... biggrin.gif

#14 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:47 PM

We don't actually have that rule, just saw it at a daycare/preschool I was looking at and wondered if they'd send the bags of air popped popcorn with no falvouring I just bought for emergencies home. Just wondering smile.gif All bets are off when they get to high school anyway, don't get me started on the number of kids I had coming to school drinking cans of Mother.....

Squeaza, I totally want some sweet potato muffins now! Alas it's not shopping day until Wednesday and I have not much in the cupboard. May be able to rustle up some savoury scones though.


We got a nude food lunchbox with lots of little containers in it but I'm too worried to send anything too adventurous yet! We'll go with totally easy things like cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, cheese, fruit etc. Bento style might be for term 2... biggrin.gif

#15 aChocLover

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:25 PM

QUOTE(squeaza @ Jan 28 2014, 03:37 AM) View Post


With the savoury things you've mentioned, AC, do you prepare them and freeze them uncooked then just defrost a serve or two to cook?


I had intended just making them up and cooking them the night before, but on reflection of how I normally feel in the evenings during school term I spent all day yesterday cooking, cooling, bagging and freezing! So, yes everything is cooked and bagged into portion sizes . I'll pull it out the night before and pack the lunch box.

I have about 3 weeks worth of goodies for school lunches so I think I can manage that on an ongoing basis.

QUOTE(flowerrose @ Jan 28 2014, 02:32 PM) View Post

What's the issue with the insulated lunch boxes? Surely that steers people more towards packaging for food safety?
...
Otherwise, the kids tend to go in with leftovers. Both love the sunday roast cold or reheated in the thermos tubs ...


The "Lunch Box Procedure for 2014" (I shit you not rolleyes.gif ) tells us that "the insulated bags prevent the fridge temperature from reaching food and also contributes to the raising of the fridge temperature above the recommended 5 degrees." It then goes on to tell us how to pack our kids lunches in one big plastic container laugh.gif Windsor, we've got nudies again this year. The kids love all the compartments.

Snap! Thermos tubs are the best invention ever. The kids particularly like it during the winter months when they can have a warm meal for lunch!





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